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1937-248 Overheating


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I will try again... I spent nearly an hour on setting up what I had already done to trouble shoot and alleviate my overheating issues. Then all I had typed disappeared!!!!!

Cut to the chase.. Today I ran the engine till it was just starting to overheat(10 minutes)

Then pulled the plugs and did a compression check. A friend who does heads said that it sounded like a possible head gasket problem. No water in the oil. No white smoke.

My readings. Using a rubber grommet type tester. With a threaded in tester readings should be a bit better. I did them twice. Engine has 106,650 miles on it.

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

85# 85# 85# 85# 85# 85# 85# 90#

To me the head gasket should be good. I just want to cover all the bases before I pull the radiator. I believe on the hard pulls over the mountains on our aborted trip to Springfield caused some sludge from the block to stop up the radiator. Block was to be cleaned out before new freeze plugs were to be installed. The radiator was to be redone at that time also. But from my experience with the shop that did this work I am doubtful.

I had already checked the operation of the by-pass valve. I have tried to back flush the block and the radiator. (Only about a 1/2 handful of sediment.)and (What came out of the block drain was very brown). I will do again today.

I was planning on addressing a manifold gasket leak and did not want to do all this work to get the manifold resurfaced then new gaskets and then have to go back pull the head also. So while I have the manifold off I guess I will pull the new freeze plugs and check for any internal crud that was missed.

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Larry,

 

This simple test will determine if your radiator needs to be rodded-out or replaced with a new core:

Remove the radiator and back flush it (upside down) to remove any accumulated debris from the core.  Then, turn it right side up again to test it for flow.  Do this by simply plugging the bottom hose connection, full the radiator, tilt it so the bottom connection is at 45 degrees, and remove the plug.  If the water shoots over two feet it is good flow.  Eighteen inches or less is a problem.

 

Look for a previous thread about using CLR to flush your engine.  I recall it also involved using a wire hanger to "rod out" the engine block and cylinder head through the freeze plug holes.

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Larry:

 

I used a piece of 1/4" copper tube and hooked it into the garden hose using a hose-male-to-1/4-barb fitting, mated with a very short piece of 1/4" fuel line and clamps. The fitting is available at Home Depot. Then slightly flatten the other end of the copper tube to act as a nozzle.  With your house water pressure you will get a pretty good mini-pressure washer which fits nicely into the block thru the freeze plug holes and thru the head port up at the bypass valve. You can really maneuver it around to get all sorts of crud loosened.

 

Cheers, Dave

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I will try again... I spent nearly an hour on setting up what I had already done to trouble shoot and alleviate my overheating issues. Then all I had typed disappeared!!!!!

Cut to the chase.. Today I ran the engine till it was just starting to overheat(10 minutes)

Then pulled the plugs and did a compression check. A friend who does heads said that it sounded like a possible head gasket problem. No water in the oil. No white smoke.

My readings. Using a rubber grommet type tester. With a threaded in tester readings should be a bit better. I did them twice. Engine has 106,650 miles on it.

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

85# 85# 85# 85# 85# 85# 85# 90#

To me the head gasket should be good. I just want to cover all the bases before I pull the radiator. I believe on the hard pulls over the mountains on our aborted trip to Springfield caused some sludge from the block to stop up the radiator. Block was to be cleaned out before new freeze plugs were to be installed. The radiator was to be redone at that time also. But from my experience with the shop that did this work I am doubtful.

I had already checked the operation of the by-pass valve. I have tried to back flush the block and the radiator. (Only about a 1/2 handful of sediment.)and (What came out of the block drain was very brown). I will do again today.

I was planning on addressing a manifold gasket leak and did not want to do all this work to get the manifold resurfaced then new gaskets and then have to go back pull the head also. So while I have the manifold off I guess I will pull the new freeze plugs and check for any internal crud that was missed.

 

I live in Las Vegas. It's always over a hundred degrees here in the daytime and between 85 and 100 at night. I have a 38 Buick that I just purchased and it would run about 200 degrees even at night and if I went 50mph or more i would get worse until I slowed to 40mph. If I stopped at a red light it would get worse. It never boiled over only because I would bring it back home before it had the chance. When I first opened the petcock on the block nothing came out but a small shot of air from my compressor and it removed the blockage and brown water started to run. I drained the radiator and the block with just a garden hose into the top of the radiator until everything came out clear and steady, about a half hour. This helped but not much. I then removed the thermostat and put one container of Prestone Radiator Cleaner and rust remover in the radiator and that night drove the car in our Lake Mead National Park for 3 hours and a little over one hundred miles. I came back and drained everything again and used the garden hose into the top of the radiator with the water running with the block petcock and radiator petcock open for about a half hour. I DROVE IT THE NEXT DAY AND IT WAS MUCH BETTER. It was staying about 190 max and taking longer to get there. The next day I went to the hardware store and was able to buy some rubber caps that have a fitting molded into them that a 1 inch garden hose can connect to. I was able to clamp one of these gadgets over the thermostat housing and the other over the part of the water pump that the lower radiator hose normally connects to. Then with the garden hose hooked to the thermostat housing side I turned on the faucet and reversed flush the block for about a half hour. I did the same thing with the radiator and the same thing with the heater. I then put the thermostat back in and now the car runs at 180, I can even drive it at 55mph going in the uphill direction of the freeway without it going over 180 degrees. I can hardly believe it and am so happy. To day I added some 420CF to give everything a final light cleaning, I will drain and flush it after 100 more miles. I obtained this stuff from a shop in Northern California. I would recommend an article called DONT RUSH THE FLUSH which you can get by google or www.voltage drop.com. By the way all my cylinders are 85 except the one closest to the waterpump and its 90.

 

DAVE ARTHUR

BCOA #48181

LAS VEGAS NV

Edited by LAS VEGAS DAVE (see edit history)
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Larry,

 

I had the same problem with my truck.

 

Do not know the chemistry, but I had an old timer tell me to drain the cooling system and flush it out with water.  Then fill it up with plain household bleach.  My truck took 4 gallons. Then drive it until it gets hot.  Let I cool. Then drive again until it gets hot. Let it cool. Do this about five times.  Then drain the system and flush with water until it runs clear.

 

I did this and it fixed my overheating problem.  Fixed it for $4.00.  Tried the prestone flush prior to the bleach and did nothing.

 

Just my experience.

 

Larry

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I think doing the reverse flush with radiator disconnected from the block and then doing the same to the radiator with the radiator disconnected from the block and even doing the heater with it disconnected is one of the best ways. I like the idea of removing the freeze plugs and making a quarter inch soft copper tube to hook to a pressure hose and poking it in the freeze plug openings to free up some rust. I have also heard that vinegar works in removing rust. One person told me to use muratic acid but I am afraid something to strong will hurt the water pump or radiator. 

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Thanks all:

 I thought I made some progress today. I back flushed the radiator again with a pressure flusher attachment. I did get some more crud out and all seemed clear. So I buttoned it up and refilled with water. I ran it at idle for a half hour and the temp did not go above 180. So I took her for a short drive. By the time I went 2 miles it was over 200 again. Just made it back to the garage before it turned into a tea kettle again. So tomorrow we will try another of your suggestions.

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Thanks all:

 I thought I made some progress today. I back flushed the radiator again with a pressure flusher attachment. I did get some more crud out and all seemed clear. So I buttoned it up and refilled with water. I ran it at idle for a half hour and the temp did not go above 180. So I took her for a short drive. By the time I went 2 miles it was over 200 again. Just made it back to the garage before it turned into a tea kettle again. So tomorrow we will try another of your suggestions.

Did you remove the thermostat when you reversed flushed it. I found the best way is to just reverse flush the block and radiator separate from each other. 

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There must be a thousand entries on this site about '37 and '38's overheating.

 

Getting the BLOCK clean cant be understated.

 

These cars worked fine everywhere when they were new. If they dont work fine, then there is something wrong. The trick is to find that "something".

 

However there can be strange gremlins.

 

Way back in '85, when I restored my '38 Roadmaster, after about a month of running, it started to get hot very quickly - in just a few miles.

I had done everything. Thoroughly cleaned the block, rodded the radiator, new thermostat and rebuilt pump.

 

Up to the point where my problem began the car ran at 160 - the thermostat temp. In any case, to make a very long story short, it turned out that the water pump impeller on my rebuilt pump, was loose on the shaft. A new pump solved the problem.

The mystery to me was - why didnt the pump leak too?

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I have done all as suggested. But since I will be pulling the radiator today I will check the water pump impeller also. I had already flushed the engine and radiator together and separately. One of the first things I did was to put an old fire hose that fit from the top of the water pump and let it run into a wash tub. Filled the radiator, started the engine and made sure the pump was pumping. It was moving water but I don't know what GPM output would be, It did seem sluggish to me.

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post-121302-0-49155100-1436374265_thumb.post-121302-0-56267800-1436374310_thumb.will be pulling the radiator today. I know that Larry S means well but the thought of filling my system with bleach and letting it get hot and steaming or spilling over all the painted surfaces on my 37 is something that is not controllable. Ruining all the stuff I have already detailed. On his 1915 Truck things are more open and accessible.

I have already done the CLR treatment and have flushed twice since. When it boiled over last night I could still smell the stuff. I would have liked to flush the radiator in place as this is an all day job of removal. Hood, stay rods, water pump/fan, thermostat housing all have to be removed and the radiator just has enough space to be tipped back and slid out. As apposed to our earlier cars. I can get the radiator out of the 25 in just about 25 minutes. About the same time to reinstall. Mark said just to pull it out, turn upside down, back flush and check for flow. He also has a 1938 and it is just as much of a terror to remove that radiator. I did buy a GANO filter to put in the upper radiator hose to be able to trap any left over crud from the block cleaning operation from getting back into the radiator.

Our last old line radiator shop in Chambersburg closed up this past winter. They had re-cored my 1925 radiator and did the clean out and re-soldering of the filler neck on the 1937s gas tank. So now I have at least an hours drive to get to the next place recommended instead of 1 1/2 miles away.

The most upsetting /frustrating part of this is that the shop that was doing the work on the car (promised to be ready to be driven to the 2012 Nationals) was to have all this done while the front end was off. They were also to take care of a broken manifold stud (which was done) and new gaskets installed. I already have to redo that job. They were to clean out the block before reinstalling the new freeze plugs. The radiator was to sent out and be redone. They said their "guy" said all was good except that the lower cast iron fitting was seeping and he could not do anything with it. From what I could see after reassembly the radiator looked as if it had not been touched. Same 76 year old crud and rust on the bottom tank/frame.

I wish I could be a trusting person again. But I think these folks have jaded me. But to quote them when we would ask questions about why something was not done. "this isn't our first rodeo". Photos attached while the car was at their shop

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I feel for you. Its a lot of time and work to get the radiator out and put back in. I hope its the radiator and not the block. You have every right to be disgusted with the shop that didn't do this when it was easy to get to. I'm hoping you'll have some good news soon. How hot is it where you've been driving the car. Here in Vegas its about 105 today.

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Hi,

 

I had a severe overheating issue on the 40 Lasalle.  Turned out to be exactly this problem as stated above: "In any case, to make a very long story short, it turned out that the water pump impeller on my rebuilt pump, was loose on the shaft."  

 

There's no key on the hub and axle--just a press fit.

 

My solution was to 1) drill and thread a hole through the impeller hub and file a flat on the axle.  I then put the impeller back on the shaft in Locktite red and put a setscrew in the hub, also in Locktite red.  Worked like a champ--problem solved.

 

--Tom

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I pulled the water-pump apart and checked. The impeller was tight on the shaft. Good news! The radiator shop that closed had just downsized(used to do auto glass also)and moved down the road 5 miles. So the radiator is now cooking in his tank. After I pulled it last night I did an upside down garden hose flush and got another 1/2 handful of hard scale/rust. I still can hear junk rattling around in the tanks even after that.

We will see what "Gene" my radiator man finds. The removal took me and my wife about 3 hours. The worst thing was removing the rear hold down for the hood center strip. Had to remove the glove box to remove the cowl vent drain and the defroster hoses to get to it. The service bulletin only mentions removing the front. I did and the strip would not budge and did not wish risking damage to the hood sides.

I spoke with Terry Weigand at length about using EVAPO-RUST to do the final cleaning of the block. He is going to use the same product on his 1916's block.

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Gene, my radiator man,  gave me the bad news that after cooking and pulling the tanks he could only open 5 tubes by rodding out the core. So a re-core is now underway. He quoted me $460.00. The re-core for my 1925 Standard was over $900.00 for a modern type core.

 To night I will drain the EVAPO-RUST from the block and see what I get. I will flush out and filter the EVAPO-RUST to be reused as they recommend. It turns from a light yellow green to black as it absorbs the oxides from the iron.  Stay Tuned.

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Las Vegas Dave has asked how the Evapo-Rust works.  I am here to tell everybody that this stuff WORKS and I might add it works with a vengeance!  I put about a gallon and a half in the engine block on my '16 D-45 at about 3 o'clock this afternoon.  I had to drain it back out at around 6:30 because it was eating the rust out of the bottom freeze plug on the back end of the block.  I have replaced the two plugs on the starter/generator side of the block and the two plugs on the front end of the block.  I was hoping that I could get the block cleaned out before I tackled the two back ones.  Removing the two toe boards will give fairly easy access to the lower plug.  However the firewall will have to be removed to get to the top plug.  I am lucky in the respect that this is a very early production car and uses a wooden firewall that bolts into the cowl.  I spoke with Larry DiBarry earlier and I really like his description of this solution.  He says it looks just like Gatorade and he is absolutely spot on in his description.  I had planned to leave the stuff in the block until this coming weekend.  In the very short time that I had it in it had already started to do its work and had started to darken a little bit.  This stuff is the real deal when it comes to cleaning out cooling systems like what I am facing with this car that I have.  The engine has not had coolant in it since late 1976 so you can see it needs a little cleaning up.  I really wish I could post some photos on here.  I sent Larry the photos that I took this afternoon and from a short distance it looks like a moonshine still  with all the hoses everywhere.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Terry:
 This is what I did with the 37. 
1st  photo is what was strained from the radiator before I removed it.
2nd  photo is my set up with the spigot. The 6" piece of clear hose was black overnight.
3rd  //  is of the catch pan with the washer hose that is connected to the spigot draining into the pan.
4th  //  is what the E-R looked like after 3 days;
5th  //  is my assortment of microfiber filters. The very yellow ones are from the E-R draining
6th  //  is what I have accumulated thus far from all the flushing of the block and radiator. Probably at least the same amount ended up in the yard and down the driveway.  
 I believe I told you all I did today so the HOT strained E-R is now back in the engine for another try. I will probably leave it in till Friday this time and start the engine again on Thursday to repeat the hot treatment.
 Best of luck to us!
Larry

 

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Dave, I got the 5-gallon pail from O'Reilly's.  Lowe's also carries it but they did not have the 5-gallon size in stock.  Just for your information here - yes, this solution works and works really well, but for you to get a very thorough cleaning job you should leave it in the cooling system for several days.  I have heard about other products being used with not much success and I was ready to think that this will be just more of the same.  WOW, was I ever surprised.  This product is not exactly cheap ($90.00 for the 5-gallon pail) but I can look way past that when you have something that works.  I have the radiator off the car and it has been cleaned and tested and ready to go back in place so I did not have to worry about that part of the system.  A person can put this solution into the cooling system with everything in place and clean it all at once.  It will not harm copper, plastic, aluminum, solder, brass, iron, or steel.  Life is good with this product.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Gene my radiator man called this morning to say the new core arrived. Unfortunately it was damaged and it will go back and he should have a replacement on Monday.

 As a note to the EVAPO RUST treatment. When I drained out the system after 3 days the 1 gallon that drained from the block (almost 2 gallons fill the engine and head) was black. When I opened the lower block drain the chemical was still yellow green. So I attached a long hose off of the top of the thermostat housing to go into a drain pan, added the pulley and belt.and ran the engine until the temp was about 190 to get things circulating and hot. The hot EVAPO RUST that was pumped out I re-strained and returned to top off the block. I will do this again tomorrow.

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The best way to check your engine and radiator when you have an overheating problem is with an infrared thermometer.  They can be bought for less than $30.  you can take readings all over the radiator.  Plugged tubes will readily show up.  Taking readings at various places on the engine can show hot spots.  I have only worked with 32 50 series engines, the bad spot on them is always at #8 cylinder.  On these earlier engines, you can remove the rear headbolt and used a wire rod to breakup the sludge.  Once loose, back flushing and cleaners work to remove the sludge.  I have found sludge built up over 3 inches in this #8 cylinder area.

 

Bob Engle

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Dave, that is not the way this stuff works. You fill the entire cooling system or the block and radiator individually and just let it set. I spoke with

the technical department at Evapo-Rust and that was the instructions from their lips to my ears - let it set. The longer the better for severe rust and

repeated applications if necessary once the solution turns black.

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Larry,

 

It looks like a lot of work and money but it sounds like you're finally getting to the root of this overheating issue. Anyway I sure hope so. My car overheated for years while I chased different solutions. It sure felt good when I finally got it solved. As I've said before there ain't much farfegnugen in Buickville when the car is overheating all the time.

 

Dave

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After reading this thread one thing comes to mind.  NO ONE has mentioned the by-pass valve on the thermostat housing.   READ the shop manual.  If 73 years of age has not yet rusted the spring in there to the failing stage, it will soon fail.  This is the valve that lets water go from the cylinder head straight to the water pump  (the 1 7/8" hose that goes between the head and the water pump) if it fails or gets weak. It is located below the thermostat and is part of the thermostat housing.  The water never sees the radiator! Its well worth checking this part out!. 

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I attended to the by-pass valve before I even tried to drive to Springfield. I consulted my old  37-38 Torque Tube magazines from the early 90s about how they were to preform and how to check. I was thinking that if it was removed it may be contributing to the engine running hot (usually 185 degrees). When I opened up the thermostat housing the valve was there and all was in good shape, just needed removed and cleaned up. The spring had good tension and appeared solid.(the rest of the pieces were brass). Again, my most serious problem was the plugged radiator.

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post-121302-0-64341600-1437853262_thumb.post-121302-0-36743200-1437853292_thumb.post-121302-0-61170600-1437853321_thumb.post-121302-0-73356500-1437853348_thumb.I had flushed out the block after the 2nd treatment of the EVAPO RUST, with about 10 gallons of water at hose pressure. All came out clean but the water had the same yellow green tint as the ER. Yesterday the radiator was plumbed in. I ran the engine for 40 minutes at idle and it seemed to not go above 170 on the gage.

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post-121302-0-27214200-1437853893_thumb. Yesterday I reinstalled the re-cored radiator. I had to clean up the sides and mounting area and did some touch up. When the shop put in my new wiring harness apparently they already replaced the radiator and routed the wires on the engine side over top of the radiator. So while the radiator was out I took the opportunity to route the harness correctly to the front side of the frame where the clips are. Made for a much neater appearance.Today I took the 37 out for about a 10 mile drive. 85 degree day here. Just doing weekend errands. Stop and go in traffic pulled some grades on route 30 west of Chambersburg. Had it at 50 mph for a time and my temp gage stayed around 160 through all conditions. Even after hot shut down the temp did not go above 180 degrees. The Gano filter did already pick up some stuff. Hope this is the final solution to the problem.

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Congratulations, Larry!

 

Wow, that was a lot of work to get your '37-41 back to running in the normal operating temperature range. Looks like you have finally got it nailed.  Over heating issues are no fun. Been there myself. 

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Larry and Joan,I hope you can use your 37 Buick as you always have wanted to do.

Sorry to say Larry but the wheather are still really bad here in Sweden,rain almost every day.The badest summer ever what I can remember.Yesterday we was on a "swap meet"in Rättvik Dalarna.Our oldest soon and his fiance on the picture,he was selling some car parts.

Leif in Sweden.

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Edited by Leif Holmberg (see edit history)
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Leif: :

 We hope we will be driving the 37 to Tennessee in September for a 1936-1938 Tour. I still have to change the manifold gaskets. I wanted to make sure I had the overheating problem solved before I did the manifold.
Our weather in Pennsylvania has been the best in some years. But it is promising to be in the 90+ F heat and very humid the next week. Just in time for our "Macungie" swap meet which is usually hot and humid.

 My friend Terry Wiegand in Kansas has already had many days at over 100+F heat and high humidity. I had the 1925 out today for a 7 mile drive. Beautiful day. Now I have to get to those gaskets on the 37....

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Larry, that is great news about the success on your '37.  I replaced the bottom freeze plug on the back of the block in the '16.  The Evapo-Rust solution went back in yesterday afternoon and everything is dry as it should be.  I am going to leave this batch in until next weekend and drain it out to see where things are.  I know that it is going to take a second application to get to where we need to be.  I think I remember some famous company's slogan of 'Better Living Through Chemistry'.  Very applicable here in this situation.  Will keep you guys posted of my

progress.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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